W Hotel in Dubai is one of three new properties operated by Starwood included in a multi billion dollar hotel/residential development called Al Habtoor City. The other hotels are the beautiful, elegant St Regis, sure to pamper the wildest dreams of traditional hotel lovers, and the Westin which I am yet to explore. This visionary project, located on the main strip Sheikh Zayed Road, has been described as the new heart of Dubai. Claims like that are very brave in the world’s spectacular space age city – take nearby Downtown for instance with its luxury hotels, boulevard, restaurants, huge musical lake, world class mall – all overlooked by the world’s tallest building – the elegant Burj Khalifa. Al Habtoor City will treat guests to a permanent Las Vegas-style theatrical production by Dragone – the leading cultural creation company in the world, as well as an array of retail and leisure facilities along the boulevard and the marina promenade including boutiques, stylish cafés, signature restaurants, and a tennis academy with four courts – even an air-conditioned court for year-round play. A marina in the heart of the city you are wondering? Dubai’s first water canal will soon be flooded, allowing hotel guests to move about by water taxi as well as the RTA network, which includes major roads and rail.
I have gone to the trouble to explain all of this because the development is not finished yet. You need to know that right now (October 2016) you are arriving at a massive building site and the hotels are experiencing their soft opening period – always a learning curve for the management and guests. First sight as you drive in to the complex is the St Regis, a glorious recreation of yesteryear with its huge marble clad foyer, soaring staircases extensive gardens and French chateau looks. The W, sited in a tower behind, is very much the suave, upmarket choice for today’s generation and the young at heart. You get the drift before stepping through the front door. Parked outside was a lipstick pink Rolls Royce and matching Mercedes coupe.
We arrived very early – bags were taken and we were asked to head for the 30th floor for check-in. The foyer is functional – big enough for the concierge desk and reception. The wow factor starts as you head to the lifts – the multi coloured stone floor sparkles.
We were checked in at one of a number of satellite desks and headed to our room remarking again on the vivid colour everywhere – from the multi hued carpets to the marble floors. Moses would be impressed. The passage carpet is surely a world first – not sure how you would enjoy the stroll after a few drinks too many. We were upgraded to a corner suite – 2219 was in a word HUGE. The modern theme is carried on by the interior designers – white furniture contrasts sharply with black carpet. The black marble in the bathroom sparkles. We had a few problems working out the lighting system – the soft opening period will iron out little problems like this. The round bed completely redefines king – a housemaid’s nightmare I’m sure. The first room was big enough for a small conference with modular seating for at least 12 people. There are two separate toilets, large shower and bath off the bathroom big enough for two. Mirrors are everywhere. Curtains open in the bedroom at the touch of a button -we were overlooking the St Regis dome and the extensive gardens. All the goodies were there including a coffee machine – but no fresh milk in the fridge. The desk is vast with plenty of international plugs. The pullout mini fridge is well stocked.
Hanging space in the WIR is ok – more provision could have been made for bag storage. Safe is at an ideal height.
There is a chair and mirror for the girls to makeup and dry their hair in the bathroom – but no power plug for the dryer. Another teething problem that I am sure will be rectified. The minimalist theme of the rooms is reversed in the large and welcoming breakfast room which includes the kitchen. Warmth oozes from the extensive use of timber, soft colours and homely displays of pots and pans hanging from the ceiling. Guests enjoy a wide range of treats – everything from fresh fruit and fried eggs cooked to order through to smoothies or birchermuesli – served in sealed glass containers from the self serve fridge. Expect a decent cup of coffee as well – the lovely barista is an award winner. We headed back to the 30th floor for an evening cocktail before a relaxed dinner Korean/Japanese style at Namu restaurant on the 31st floor.
Written by Ian McIntosh